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21st Century Skills - Competencies without a Classroom Podcast - Episode 17 Recap

S2 E17: Maddie - @edtech_class
Griffin Jaeger
April 26, 2021

In our 17th #21for21 episode of Competencies without a Classroom, we speak with the educator behind the podcast, blog, and youtube channel EdTech Classroom, Maddie. When she’s not shining on the internet, she spends her days as a K-5 stem teacher and ed-tech coach in Los Angeles, California.

What can you borrow from Maddie for your classroom to help teach 21st-century skills?

In Maddie’s classroom, she tries her best to focus student learning around developing an authentic learning experience through project-based learning.

How you may ask? Through finding ways to embed student interest into classroom learning and developing a student-centred curriculum. One of Maddie’s main classroom focus points is the idea that technology can be used as a force for good.

Through conversation, she learned that her students are interested in learning about ways they can help the environment. In learning this, Maddie decided to find a way to incorporate the 17 UN global goals, set out to achieve a more sustainable future by the year 2030. Together, she asked her students which goals were important to them, and how they, along with the use of technology, can achieve these goals.

One example of putting this into action was through a coding project in Maddie’s fourth-grade classroom, where she asked students to solve a real-world issue through the use of code and lego robots. Rather than teaching the students how to do code before they did the project, students learned by doing the project itself.

Her students were able to flex their creative problem-solving muscles, communication, problem-solving and collaboration skills, all while learning to solve real-world problems.

Whether you are in a STEM class like Maddie’s or not, the idea is to find ways to peak student interest by embedding what they care about and what excites them right into the curriculum.

Reflection Prompts for Your Students

Use the prompts below to have your students reflect on what they heard in the episode and consider how Maddie’s advice can be applied to them.

  1. If Maddie were given a billboard and could write anything on it, she would write “Put your phone down”, alluding to the importance of disconnecting from technology and focusing on the task at hand. What are some ways you try to limit your daily screen time? Additionally, how can you use technology to enhance your learning rather than using it as a distraction?
  2. If Maddie had a magic wand and could change anything about the education system, she would provide students with more opportunities to engage in real-world learning. Take a look at the UN Global Goals Maddie looks at with her students, which of the 17 goals do you feel most passionate about? How could technology play a role in solving that goal?
  3. Maddie speaks on the importance of creative problem-solving. Describe a time in which you were faced with a problem, in or out of the classroom, and had to think outside of the box to come up with a creative solution. What was that process like? If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?

Yearning for more? You’re in luck! We’ll be speaking to educators all month long about #21for21 and the development of 21st-century skills in the classroom. Join the fun and head over to to sign up for episode recaps, lesson plans, and chances to win some awesome prizes.


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